September 27, 2004

Just mentionin'

I just wanted to mention--I'm not AR-GUING with anybody, just mentioning— that I was reading about viruses/worms/Trojan horses/crapware/adware/spyware—and, Mac user that I am, I realized I have only a vague understanding of what those things are. I mean, I know in theory what they are, but I've never encountered any of them in life...

Here's a very interesting essay by John Gruber on why that is. The author makes an analogy with the "broken-window" theory of crime control, where zero tolerance of all sorts of disorder is a powerful deterrent to crime...

...My answer to question posed earlier — why are Windows users besieged with security exploits, while Mac users suffer none? — is that Windows is like a bad neighborhood, strewn with litter, mysterious odors, panhandlers, and untold dozens of petty annoyances. Many Windows users are simply resigned to the fact that their computers contain software that is not under their control. And if they’ll tolerate an annoying application that badgers them with pop-up ads, well, why not a spyware virus that logs every key you type, then sends them back to the creator? (That’s a real virus, by the way, Korgo, which hit Windows at the end of May and is spreading quickly.)...

...The Mac is like a good neighborhood, where the streets are clean and the crime rate low. You don’t need bars on your windows in a good neighborhood; you don’t need anti-virus software on the Mac...

...Arguing that it’s technically possible that the Mac could suffer just as many security exploits as Windows is like arguing that a good neighborhood could suddenly find itself strewn with garbage and plagued by vandalism and serious crime. Possible, yes, but not likely. The security disparity between the Mac and Windows isn’t so much about technical possibilities as it is about what people will tolerate.

And Mac users don’t tolerate shit.

Well, that's true. Particularly, as Gruber points out, we have zero tolerance for vulnerabilities. Someone points out a theoretical OS-X vulnerability, and it's NEWS! And the complaining starts. "This was pointed out two days ago! When is the Apple Security Update coming out? What's the matter with those guys!"

Posted by John Weidner at September 27, 2004 9:24 PM
Weblog by John Weidner